The sun is streaming into the kitchen and it feels great to be making hot-weather food. Step forward salads – with zingy, fresh ingredients and clean, clear tastes. Making food in this heat becomes as simple as putting some ingredients in a bowl. And when it’s this simple, it’s supereasy to make healthy, nutrient-packed meals.
This salad is full of antioxidant-rich veggies. But the stars of the bowl are the chia seeds. They are literally bursting with vitamins, minerals and the highest amount of omega-3 in any fruit or vegetable. You can use chia seeds to thicken stews, soups, juices and smoothies, to bind flour mixtures together as a substitute for eggs when baking, but also very simply to sprinkle into stir-frys and salads. Ahhh, sunshine and superfoods – a wonderful combination!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 10 minutes
- 150g/5½oz mixed salad leaves
- ½ cucumber, peeled and halved lengthways
- 2 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
- ½ red, orange or yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin matchsticks
- 2 spring onions, white part finely sliced
- 1 small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- To make the dressing, mix together the ingredients in a small jug.
- Using a teaspoon, deseed the cucumber by running the spoon down the centre of the cucumber. Discard the seeds and cut the cucumber into thin matchsticks. Put the cucumber and the remaining vegetables into a serving bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the dressing and the herbs and mix in gently. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve.
This recipe comes from Sophie Michell’s gorgeous new book, Love Good Food, and is based on a dish that Sophie tried when she was in Malaysia. Malaysian food is definitely the unsung culinary hero of Asia. It’s uniquely diverse cuisine combines the original Malay cooking style along with cooking techniques and ingredients from China, India, Portugal and Holland, with Thai and Indonesian influences. The huge variety of cuisines creates a delectable mix of regional specialities and iconic dishes.
Probably the most immediately-noticeable aspect of Malaysian food is the use of an unusual mix of spices. The Chinese, Indian and Portugese spice traders brought in spices like cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, tamarind and turmeric and these are used with great effect in the dishes. Here Sophie has mixed turmeric into the pancake mixture, giving the batter a beautiful yellow colour, along with a slightly tart, peppery flavour. Mixed in with the rice flour, the creamy, sweet coconut milk and the light-onion flavour from the chive, this is a really delicious pancake mixture.
What’s more, this recipe is not only gluten-free and dairy-free but it’s egg-free. Yep – pancakes you can make without having to use eggs or egg substitutes. Brilliant! You can also use strips of pork or prawns and peanuts instead of the crab. Sophie finishes the dish off with some oyster sauce but this contains gluten, so you could simply leave it as it is, or perhaps try a squeeze of lime if you like.
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, seed-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes resting time Cooking time 35 minutes
- 1–2 tsp groundnut oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2.5cm/1in piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 300g/10½oz picked cooked white crab meat
- 1 tsp tamari soy sauce
- 175g/6oz/heaped 1 cup rice flour
- 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup coconut milk, plus extra as needed
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp snipped chives, plus extra for sprinkling
- a pinch of sea salt
- To make the pancake batter, whisk together the rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric, chives and sea salt in a bowl with 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup water until thoroughly combined to make a smooth batter, adding more coconut and water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- To cook the pancakes, heat a frying pan with a base about 20cm/8in in diameter over a medium-high heat. Add some of the groundnut oil, and, when it is hot, pour in one-quarter of the pancake batter. Tilt the pan to spread the batter into a thin, lacy layer, then cook the pancake for 5 minutes until the batter is set and the edges are starting to turn golden. Flip the pancake over and cook for a further 2–3 minutes until golden. Turn the pancake out onto a heatproof serving plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining 3 pancakes, adding more oil to the pan as required.
- Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the ginger and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the crab meat and tamari soy sauce and stir-fry until heated through. Divide the crab mixture onto the pancakes and roll them up. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chives.
Spring onions turned up in my veg box this week and it made me think of lighter, Asian-style food. I’ve been meaning to try this idea out for a while, but it’s felt too wintery recently. But as the blossom is now in full bloom on the trees and the weather has turned warmer, I thought it would be good to try this.
Spring onions are often combined with ginger and sesame oil, and these marry wonderfully well with the subtle tastes of pak choi and white fish. I’ve used pollack because the sauce makes the fish taste delicious, and I’ve added lots of the sea vegetable, arame, to maximise the healthy aspect of this dish. Arame, like all sea veg, contains high levels of iodine, which, as well as boosting your immune system, it helps to keep your metabolism working at an optimum level.
I bought some Chinese rice wine for this dish – and it was a revelation! I’m not sure what I was expecting but, to me, it tastes rather like sherry. The recipe uses 5 tablespoons of the wine and the bottle says that the wine will only keep for a week. So there was no choice, really – we had to drink the rest. (Yep, the detox is over!) I had bought Doragon Sake – and we drank it warm as the bottle suggested, slowly over the course of a couple of days. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world of wine!
Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 10 minutes Serves 4
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
- 2 pak choi
- 6 spring onions, cut into strips
- 1cm/½in piece root ginger, peeled and cut into strips
- 4 skinless white fish fillets, such as pollack
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 tbsp Chinese rice wine
- 3 tbsp tamari
- 150ml/5fl oz/scant ⅔ cup miso soup
- 1 handful of arame
- steamed rice or cooked rice noodles, to serve
- Remove the 2 outer leaves from each pak choi and immerse in a bowl of boiled water for about 1 minute until the leaves have softened. Refresh under cold running water and leave to one side. Cut the remaining pak choi into quarters.
- Arrange the spring onion strips and ginger on the top of the fish and wrap the softened pak choi leaves around the fish, tucking each end under the fish.
- Heat the sesame and olive oils in a large wok over a medium heat until hot. Pour in the rice wine, tamari and miso soup and add the arame, making sure the arame is immersed in the liquid. Bring to the boil, then place the fish on the top and cover with a lid. (If your wok is too small for all the fish, cook in batches.) Cook for 5 minutes, then add the remaining pak choi quarters and cook, covered, for a further 3–5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Serve immediately with steamed rice or rice noodles.
The truth is that I don’t like kale normally. Try as I might, it tastes bitter and unappealing to me. But I know it’s packed with nutrients and fantastically good for you. And it’s wonderfully cheap. So I’ve been experimenting with different flavours to add to it and I think I’ve come up with a winning formula! Bursting with fresh, fiery tastes, this Asian-style version can be served with rice for a light lunch or as a side dish with, say, steamed fish and rice. Enjoy!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Serves 1 as a main course or 2 as a side dish Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time 5 minutes
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemongrass stalk, finely sliced
- 1cm/½in piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 200g/7oz kale, chopped
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- 1–2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
- Heat both of the oils in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Add the lemongrass, ginger, chilli and then the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the kale and stir-fry for about 2 minutes until the kale is starting to look cooked.
- Mix together the rice wine vinegar, agarve syrup and 1 tablespoon of the tamari and pour into the pan. Cook, stirring, for another 1–2 minutes until all of the kale is cooked but remains quite crunchy. Check the seasoning and add the other tablespoon of tamari if you like. Serve hot.